MIDDLESEX – Teta Kain’s appreciation of the wonders and beauty of Dragon Run began with her first trip on the Middle Peninsula watershed more than 30 years ago. She has since led more than 1,000 kayak trips down the 3.7-mile gem, using her expertise, charm, and humor to show thousands of paddlers the area and educate them on its fish, birds, butterflies, flowers, plants, and other inhabitants.
To show its appreciation for Kain and all she has done, Friends of Dragon Run (FODR) is naming an 18-acre parcel on Farley Park Road at the New Dragon bridge the Teta Kain Nature Preserve. A ceremony is scheduled at the site for June 22 at 10am. It will be held rain or shine.
“It’s just really recognizing someone while they’re alive for their great contributions, really getting a chance to thank her on behalf of a lot of people,” said Jeff Wright, the president of FODR.
Wright said people Kain has guided on the tours have come away with “a further love of nature and learned a little and had a good time.”
Anne Atkins of FODR said the Department of Wildlife Resources currently calls the area the Dragon Run Birding and Wildlife Trail, but the non-profit organization owns the land.
“The whole property will be named for her,” she said, adding the group hopes to change the name of the trail also.
Kain, once known as the Queen of the Dragon but now referred to as Empress of the Dragon, has lived on the Middle Peninsula since the mid-1980s. A friend told her about the Dragon, which winds its way through Gloucester, King & Queen, Mathews and Middlesex counties, shortly after she moved here, so she had to see it for herself.
“I just love Dragon Run,” said Kain, who is a past president of FODR and has been involved in the organization in various roles for three decades. “When I came up here and saw what it was, I couldn’t resist. I started in a rowboat and ended up in a kayak.”
She’s also a nature photographer and naturalist, and is well-known throughout the Middle Peninsula, state, and the country in wildlife circles.
“She’s really inspired a lot of people through the years, not just in our organization, but in her other efforts,” Wright said. “She’s funny and personable, and always good to be with.”
Kain, in her mid-80s, doesn’t lead the kayak trips anymore, which now are held three times a year: in the spring, summer, and fall. However, she continues to kayak and still is involved with FODR, but not doing as much.
“I’m getting long of tooth,” she said.
Wright has been involved with FODR for seven or eight years and knows Kain well.
“She’s a force of nature,” he said. “The purpose of the event is to honor her but she’s a symbolic honor also. She symbolizes a lot of the good of volunteer work.”
Atkins and Wright are expecting more than 50 people for the ceremony. The public is welcome, but registration is required because of limited space for parking and the ceremony. For more information on Dragon Run, and to registration for the event, visit www.DragonRun.org.